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Mar 19

The Glassine Fallacy

Posted on Thursday, March 19, 2009 in Non-Fiction

Art Conservation Services of Sarasota and members of its staff have been practicing for over 35 years in the conservation and restoration of fine art.  We have had several incidences of problems with glassine over the years.  As a result of this, we do not use glassine for wrapping oil paintings or mixed media works of art.  However, we do use it as an interleaf in paper born art.  Let me elaborate.

Oil paintings can take years to cure and stabilize.  The risk of using glassine on an oil painting more than sixty years old is minimal, however one may not know if these paintings may have been recently varnished or varnished improperly, and the surface may still become unpredictable when placed in an extreme environment.  A painting that is only five or ten years old is even more likely to be affected by heat and/or pressure.  These are environmental concerns that often occur during moving, crating, and storage in unairconditioned spaces and are dangerous to paintings even when exposed for a short period of time.  We have had one episode of an entire collection of important and valuable contemporary abstract oil paintings damaged by glassine adhesion while being transported across country in an unairconditioned truck during the summer.

Mixed media paintings are even more vulnerable to heat and pressure than oil paintings.  I have seen paintings executed in a combination of oil and alkaloid resins that have NEVER cured, even after twenty years.  Because these paintings appear dry to the touch when they are hanging in your client’s air conditioned home, a layman would never suspect that in reality these little globs and layers of paint are “plastic,” i.e. movable beneath the surface skin.  This lack of curing is not detectable until the paintings are in a closed and heated space like that of a crate or a truck.  Glassine should NEVER be used on mixed media works of art.

Another medium that is highly sensitive to heat and pressure is encaustic painting, which is wax and oil paint combined in various proportions.  This medium is becoming popular again with contemporary artists and is particularly susceptible to reactivation by heat.  Many people, including the very owners, have no idea of the composition or method of production of their art works, and this is very likely true in the case of your moving contractor.  Glassine should NEVER be used to wrap encaustic art.

Still another category is collage, which can be composed of EVERYTHING and ANYTHING glued or stuck together with ANYTHING sticky.  Combinations of glue, resin, varnish, paint of various kinds, and materials like paper, cloth, glass, metal, plastic, sand, stone, objects etc. create a surface which is not homogeneous and is totally unpredictable under the extreme conditions that one would find during packing, moving, and storage.

It should be emphasized to your representatives and to the industry that moving and storage constitute an extreme environment for art objects of any sort.  They must be viewed in this regard.

The solution to the problem is the use of single sided silicone release paper.  Nothing sticks to silicone-coated polyester.  Even if the surface of a painting becomes sticky, the silicone can be peeled off without pulling the skin of the paint with it.

The problem is in the handling of the silicone that is of course very slippery.  No tape will stick to it.  For this reason, we use single sided silicone Mylar from Talas.  We tack this single sided silicone coated Mylar to construction paper or some other common packaging material with double sided tape, creating a single side silicone coated “blanket” in which we then wrap the art.  It is important however, that if possible, the “blanket” be stretched tautly so that it does not touch the surface of the art.

Sources for single sided silicone and double sided tape are:

DuPont Corporation

Mar 17

Value Definition in An Art Appraisal

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

From Chinese Art

Fair Market Value

The price at which the property would change hands between a willing  buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.

Market Value

The most probable price that a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specific date and the passing of title from seller to buyer.

Replacement Value

Replacement Value is the price it would cost to replace an item with one of similar quality purchased in the most appropriate marketplace within a limited amount of time. Usually, this is the value used for insurance purposes or collecting needs. It is evaluated in essentially three ways: New Replacement Value, when the object is still available; Second-Hand Replacement Value, reflecting the current second hand replacement cost of a similar article of equivalent quality and condition; and Facsimile Value reflecting the cost of recreating a facsimile of the original in reasonably equal material and quality of production.

Liquidation Value

Liquidation value is the price realized in a sale under forced or limiting conditions and under time constraints. The action may be initiated by the owner or crediting institution.

Actual Cash Value

The price be necessary to replace a property with another of similar age, quality, origin, appearance, size, and condition, within a reasonable length of time in an appropriate and relevant market. (This definition encompasses the concept of “as is” or “with or without restoration.”) It is the market value of a property less all forms of depreciation.

Mar 17

Papermaking - Background from Wikipedia

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

Papermaking has traditionally been traced to China about 105 AD, when Cai Lun, an official attached to the Imperial court during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD), created a sheet of paper using mulberry and other bast fibres along with fishnets, old rags, and hemp waste. However a recent archaeological discovery has been reported from near Dunhuang of paper with writing on it dating from 8 BC, while paper had been used in China for wrapping and padding since the 2nd century BC. Paper used as a writing medium became widespread by the 3rd century, and by the 6th century toilet paper was starting to be used in China as well. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) paper was folded and sewn into square bags to preserve the flavor of tea, while the later Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) was the first government on Earth to issue paper-printed money (see banknote).

Modern papermaking began in the early 1800s in Europe with the development of the Fourdrinier machine, which produces a continuous roll of paper rather than individual sheets. These machines have become very large, up to 500 feet (~150 m) in length, producing a sheet 400 inches (~10 m) wide, and operating at speeds of over 60 mph (100 km/h).

Papermaking, regardless of the scale on which it is done, involves making a dilute suspension of fibers in water and allowing this suspension to drain through a screen so that a mat of randomly interwoven fibers is laid down. Water is removed from this mat of fibers by pressing and drying to make paper.

Manual preparation

Fibers are suspended in water to form a slurry in a large vat. The mold is a wire screen in a wooden frame (somewhat similar to an old window screen), which is used to scoop some of the slurry out of the vat. The slurry in the screen mold is sloshed around the mold until it forms a uniform thin coating. The fibers are allowed to settle and the water to drain. When the fibers have stabilized in place but are still damp, they are turned out onto a felt sheet which was generally made of an animal product such as wool or rabbit fur, and the screen mold immediately reused. Layers of paper and felt build up in a pile (called a ‘post’) then a weight is placed on top to press out excess water and keep the paper fibers flat and tight. The sheets are then removed from the post and hung or laid out to dry. A step-by-step procedure for making paper with readily available materials can be found online.

When the paper pages are dry, they are frequently run between rollers (calendered) to produce a harder writing surface. Papers may be sized with gelatin or similar to bind the fibres into the sheet. Papers can be made with different surfaces depending on their intended purpose. Paper intended for printing or writing with ink is fairly hard, while paper to be used for water color, for instance, is heavily sized, and can be fairly soft.

The wooden frame is called a “deckle”. The deckle leaves the edges of the paper slightly irregular and wavy, called “deckle edges”, one of the indications that the paper was made by hand. Deckle-edged paper is occasionally mechanically imitated today to create the impression of old-fashioned luxury. The impressions in paper caused by the wires in the screen that run sideways are called “laid lines” and the impressions made, usually from top to bottom, by the wires holding the sideways wires together are called “chain lines”. Watermarks are created by weaving a design into the wires in the mold. This is essentially true of Oriental molds made of other substances, such as bamboo. Hand-made paper generally folds and tears more evenly along the laid lines.

Laboratory-made paper

Hand-made paper is also prepared in laboratories studying papermaking and in paper mill quality labs. The “handsheets” made according to TAPPI Standard T 205 are circular sheets 15.9 cm (6.25 in) in diameter and are used to measure paper brightness, strength, degree of sizing and so on.

Industrial papermaking

A modern paper mill is divided into several sections, roughly corresponding to the processes involved in making hand-made paper. Pulp is refined and mixed in water with other additives to make a pulp slurry, the headbox distributes the slurry onto a moving, continuous screen, water drains from the slurry (by gravity or under vacuum), the wet paper sheet goes through presses and driers and is finally rolled into large rolls, often weighing several tons.

Mar 17

Dieu Donne - nonprofit papermaking in NYC

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

Founded in 1976, Dieu Donne is a nonprofit artist workspace dedicated to the creation, promotion and preservation of contemporary art in the hand papermaking process.  In support of this mission, Dieu Donné collaborates with artists and partners with the professional visual arts community.

Click here for their resources on Paper, Paper Art & Design

Mar 17

Conservation treatment - Case Study - Conserving the Skull of Diplodocous

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

by FeiWen Tsai
Department of Paleobiology
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution

The following is a brief description of the stabilization of one of the exhibited ink wash drawings,”Skull of Diplodocus, lateral view”, which needed conservation treatment in preparation for exhibition in the Dinofest 1998 art show, Drawn from the Earth. The illustration was moved to SCMRE for stabilization prior to exhibition. In addition to being unstable, it was dirty and discolored to a yellowish brown color, probably from long exposure to excessive light and humidity. The illustration was examined by a conservator, who recorded the drawing’s description, condition and treatment needs on a treatment proposal form, as indicated below.

This photo shows the illustration of the skull of Diplodocus before treatment.

This photo shows the illustration of the skull of Diplodocus before treatment.

The illustration was composed of the black ink wash drawing and several notations in other media. These included the field accession number 1631and catalog number 1921 written in graphite pencil on the upper right corner. Stamps reading “From US National Museum Washington USA” in blue ink were impressed on the recto upper left corner perpendicular to the image and on the verso, diagonally near the center, of the illustration. The substrate of the illustration was characteristic of a mixed-pulped paper and had several features that appeared to be part of the original construction of the drawing. Pinholes located at the corners might indicate that the illustration had been attached to the table during tracing or on the wall for display. [Note: Ridgway, 1938, recommends that the drawing paper be "laid down with thumbtacks or dampened and pasted along the edges"]. Scratch lines around and in the “eye hole” areas of the image might have been made by the artist.

In addition to the general yellowing of the substrate, there was an adhesive stain with a piece of tracing paper sticking to it on upper left side of the illustration. Knife cut marks, apparent outside of the image area, might have occurred when a researcher, tracing the illustration, scored tracing paper while it was directly on the top of the illustration, with the knife occasionally slipping through. In fact, a drawing on tracing paper that matched the outline of the knife cuts was later found in the folder. Some short, arc-shaped creases (handling dents), resulting from improper handling, were present throughout the illustration. Other creases, as well as tears and losses, were found on non-image areas.

Treatment Recommendations
Because many losses and tears occurred along the edges of the illustration, mending and filling were necessary to stabilize the illustration’s condition. This allowed the drawing to be handled and framed safely without putting more stress on damaged areas. The following was proposed to stabilize the drawing:

Surface cleaning - This is the first necessary step before other treatments. It minimizes abrasion from accretions and prevents dirt from being imbedded into paper fibers during subsequent wet treatment, such as washing or mending.

Mending - This closes tears and reinforces physical weakness caused by tears.

Filling - This inserts similar materials into losses to fill and strengthen the substrate.

Matting and Framing - This protects drawings from direct handling and harsh environments.

Initial Procedures Before Stabilization

Photodocumentation and Solubility Tests - Before starting stabilization, the condition of the illustration was documented using both color slides and black/white film (Fig. 13). [Note: This process was repeated again after the illustration was stabilized, so that there would be a permanent record of the drawing before and after stabilization.] The paper and ink were tested to record their properties and reactivity in response to various solvents. This initial process helped determine treatment methods. As a result of the testing, it was found that the blue ink used to stamp the drawing was extremely soluble in water.

Selection of an appropriate surface cleaning methods - Various cleaning methods were tested, such as using a soft hair brush, grated vinyl erasers, and a vinyl eraser block, on small areas of the verso. These procedures were carried out under a stereo microscope. The paper’s surface was not extremely porous, so the grated vinyl eraser method was chosen because of its gentle, less abrasive cleaning properties.

Preparation for Filling - Three different types of Japanese tissue with similar textures to the drawing were selected for possible insert materials. Toning was necessary to match the color of the illustration. This process is primarily cosmetic; it allows the object to be viewed without visual disturbance.

The method of toning was as follows: acrylic pigments were mixed to a desired color and then diluted with water to form a solution in a tray. The selected Japanese tissues were floated on the colored acrylic solution in the tray for few seconds, followed by air-drying. The tissues were then rinsed using deionized water to remove loose pigment particles, then dried again under blotters and weight.

Because the insert tissue is much thinner than the illustration’s paper substrate, several pieces of tissues were laminated (adhered together) to the same thickness as the illustration in order to be more compatible with the drawing. Adhesion was done using dilute wheat starch paste.

Stabilization Procedures

Surface Cleaning - The illustration was surface cleaned using grated vinyl erasers and a soft hair brush on non-image areas. Eraser crumbs were brushed off to prevent abrasive and discoloring residues being left on the illustration. Cleaning was carried out cautiously around areas of image, pencil marks, and tears to avoid removing any original markings or further damaging tear areas.

Mending - Mending and filling were carried out on a light table. During mending, the illustration was placed on the top of the light table to align tears and close gaps using wheat starch paste applied by tipping in spots of paste with a fine-pointed brush. After the tears were aligned, a mending strip of feathered, pasted Japanese tissue was placed on the verso to reinforce each tear.

Filling - Selected laminated tissue was laid on the top of the polyester film, which was placed between the illustration and the repaired tissues. The outlines of losses were traced using a dull needle on a light table. After tracing, the excess part of the laminated tissue was torn away and the shaped fill was then aligned and inserted into the loss area using wheat starch paste. Because the repaired areas looked very clean and new, “cosmetic surgery” to tone down the edge of repair was conducted using pastels and a paper stump.

The photo on the left shows the illustration of the skull of Diplodocus after conservation treatment was complete.

The photo on the left shows the illustration of the skull of Diplodocus after conservation treatment was complete.

Matting and Framing - The illustration was attached to a backboard of acid-free archival quality matboard using Japanese tissue and wheat starch paste. The attachment method, called a T-hinge, consisted of two strips of tissue representing the stem and cross-bar of a “T”. Two small vertical rectangles of Japanese tissue were adhered with dilute wheat starch paste along the top edge of the verso of the illustration to form the stems of the T-hinges. The drawing and hinges were then aligned on the backboard. Each hinge stem was secured to the backboard by overlaying it with a pasted and larger horizontal cross-bar of Japanese tissue. This allows the drawing to be removed from its backboard at some future date by cutting around the stem of its hinge. The illustrations were sent back to the Paleobiology department for framing using UV filtering plexiglas and an aluminum frame.

After it was matted and framed, the drawing of “Skull of Diplodocus, lateral view” as well as the drawing of “skull of Diplodocus, posterior view”, and the drawing of “skull of Diplodocus anterior view” were shipped by a fine arts moving van for exhibition in the Dinofest art exhibit.

Mar 17

Art Glossary: Terminology for artists

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

Click here for article source

A.W.S.: Abbreviation of the American Watercolor Society, established in 1866.

Accent: A detail, brushstroke, or area of color placed in a painting for emphasis.

Acid Free: Acid free refers to papers without acid (pH) in the pulp when manufactured. High acidity papers degrade quickly.

Acrylic: Paint made from pigments and a synthetic plastic binder, water-soluble when wet, insoluble when dry. Developed commercially in the 30s and 40s and perfected in the 50s through 70s, this popular alternative to oil paint can also duplicate many of watercolor’s unique characteristics when used in a fluid manner. • Go to Acrylics section.

Alla Prima: Italian phrase meaning “first time”. Painting directly in one session with no under-drawing or painting. Usually refers to oil or acrylic painting.

Analogous colors: A grouping of related colors next to each other on the color wheel. Example: Yellow, Yellow Green, and Green. • Go to Color section.

Aquarelle: The French term for the process and product of painting in transparent watercolor.

Archival Paper: Archival watercolor paper is any pure 100% rag , cotton, or linen watercolor paper of neutral or slightly low ph, alkaline (base) vs. acidic, and pure ingredients. Some synthetic papers are archival in nature but have unique working properties. • Go to Watercolor Paper section.

Atmospheric perspective: Suggesting perspective in a painting with changes in tone and color between foreground and background. The background is usually blurred and hues are less intense.

Back runs: When your fresh brush stroke hits a still damp wash it will force the original wash out in a irregular, often fractal manner. This can totally screw up what you are intending to do, unless you do it intentionally. Practice playing with paint and coping with “happy accidents.” (also known as back wash) • See our tutorial.

Background: The area of a painting farthest from the viewer. In a landscape this would include the sky and horizon. In a still life or portrait it could be a wall or room interior. • See Foreground, Middle ground.

Batik: Using wax resist designs on dyed fabrics. Colors are dyed lightest color to darkest color, with new design elements added before each color bath.

Binder: That which holds the paint together, such as linseed oil for oil painting, polymers for acrylics, gum arabic for watercolors and gouache.

Blending: Fusing two color planes together so no discernable sharp divisions are apparent.

Blocking in: The simplifying and arranging of compositional elements using rough shapes, forms, or geometric equivalents when starting a painting.

Blotting: using an absorbent material such as tissues or paper towels, or a squeezed out brush, to pick up and lighten a wet or damp wash. Can be used to lighten large areas or pick out fine details. • See our tutorial.

Blow Dryer: For rapid painting production, these electronic hair drying devices are a necessity at times. Overheating liquid frisket areas can “set” the frisket into the top layer of paper fibers. Which can make removal of the frisket interesting in the least. • See our tutorial.

Body Color: The mixing of opaque white gouache with transparent watercolor; or gouache colors in general.

Broken colors: The unequal mixing of two complementary colors.

Caricature: Art that exaggerates the qualities, defects, or peculiarities of a person or idea, usually in a humourous manner. Traditionally used in editorial cartooning. • Example: Honoré Daumier.

Carpenter’s Pencil: A graphite pencil that features a flat ovoid wooden grip surrounding a wide graphite core capable of creating chiseled thick and thin pencil lines. Used for sketching and drawing. Must be hand sharpened and shaped.

Cartoon: A preparatory sketch or design that is then transferred to the final work surface.

Casein: A water-soluble protein found in milk that is used as a binder for creating casein paints. Casein is sometimes used as an underpainting for oil or acrylic painting.

Cast Shadow: The dark area that results when the source of light has been intercepted by an object.

Charcoal: Used for drawing and for preliminary sketching on primed canvas for oil painting. Natural vine charcoal is very soft and can be easily rubbed off with a soft rag. Natural willow charcoal is harder than vine charcoal and gives a darker line. Compressed charcoal is available in several forms. You can choose from stick form, wood-encased pencils, and peel-as-you-go paper wrapped pencils. These charcoal formulations range from extra soft to hard. Powdered charcoal is used to transfer drawings to surfaces by dusting through “pounced” lines on the drawing. • See pounce wheel.

Chiaroscuro: 1) The rendering of light and shade in painting; the subtle gradations and marked variations of light and shade for dramatic effect. 2) The style of painting light within deep shadows. Carrivagio and Rembrandt are considered masters of chiaroscuro.

Chroma: The purity or degree of saturation of a color; relative absence of white or gray in a color.

Cold Pressed: Watercolor paper that is Cold Pressed (CP) or ‘Not’ Pressed (NP) has mildly rough texture. It takes color smoothly but the tooth allows for slight irregularities and graining in washes. •See Hot Pressed, Rough

Collage: A composition made of cut and pasted pieces of different materials, sometimes photographs or drawn images are used.

Complementary colors: Colors at opposite points on the color wheel, for example, red and green, yellow and purple. (See Primary and Secondary Colors)

Composition: The arrangement of elements of form and color within an artwork.

Cross-hatching: Using fine overlapping planes of parallel lines of color or pencil to achieve texture or shading. Used in traditional egg tempera technique; drawing in pencil, chalk, pen and ink; and engraving, etching, and other printmaking techniques.

Deckle: The tapered rough edges of watercolor and drawing papers, also refered to as “barbs”.

Drawing: The act of marking lines on a surface, and the product of such action. Includes pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, conte crayon, markers, silverpoint, and other graphic media on paper.

Dry Brush: Any textured application of paint where your brush is fairly dry (thin or thick paint) and you rely the hairs of your brush, the angle of attack of your stroke, and the paper’s surface texture to create broken areas of paint. Study the range of technique in Andrew Wyeth’s drybrush watercolors. Used for rendering a variety of textured surfaces: stone, weathered wood, foliage, lakes and rivers, bark, clouds.   • See drybrush tutorial.

Easel: A stand or resting place for working on or displaying a painting. A simple easel can be a tripod with a cross bar for the painting to sit on.

Ebony Pencil: A drawing pencil that features a thick core of graphite formulated to be very black and smooth. Capable of a wide tonal range with rich darks. For sketching and drawing.

Encaustic: Encaustic paints a blend of oil paint and beeswax and must be heated for use. Examples of ancient encaustic murals and portraits were found among the ruins of Pompeii.

Ferrule: The metal cylinder that surrounds and encloses the hairs on a brush. Customarily made of nickel or nickel-plated base metal.

Figure: A human or animal form.

Filler: See Inert Pigment.

Fixative: A resinous or plastic spray used to affix charcoal, pencil, or pastel images to the paper. Used lightly it protects finished art (or underdrawing) against smearing, smudging, or flaking.

Flat Color: Any area of a painting that has an unbroken single hue and value.

Flat Wash: any area of a painting where a wash of single color and value is painted in a series of multiple, overlapping stokes following the flow of the paint. A slightly tilted surface aids the flow of your washes. Paper can be dry or damp. • See our tutorial.

Foreground: The area of a painting closest to the viewer. In a landscape this would include the area from the viewer to the middle distance. • See Background, Middle ground.

Foreshortening: The technique of representing a three dimensional image in two dimensions using the laws of perspective.

Foxing: The development of patterns of brown or yellow splotches (stains) on old paper. Caused by a type of mold, foxing is often removed by treating with diluted bleach.

Fresco: Meaning “fresh” in Italian, fresco is the art of painting with pure pigments ground in water on uncured (wet) lime plaster. An ancient technique used world wide by artists of many ages and cultures. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is a famous example fresco painting. Durability is achieved as the pigments chemically bind with the plaster over time as it hardens to it’s natural limestone state.

Frottis: Thin transparent or semi-transparent glazes rubbed into the ground in the intitial phases of an oil painting. From the French term “frotter”, meaning “to rub”.

Fugitive Colors: The pigments in the “fugitive” class of paints have the unfortunate characteristic of looking beautiful and unique when first painted but show bad side-effects over time. Side effects include fading to non-existence, changing color, darkening to black, and other fun stuff. Unless you’re planning on hermetically sealing your paintings and viewing them in a low-UV climate controlled room, skip them. Use lightfast ratings I & II when possible. • Go to Pigments section.

Genre: A category of artistic work marked by a particular specified form, technique, or content.

Genre painting: The depiction of common, everyday life in art, as opposed to religious or portrait painting for example.

Gesso: Ground plaster, chalk or marble mixed with glue or acrylic medium, generally white. It provides an absorbent ground for oil, acrylic, and tempera painting.

Gestalt: Gestalt theory states that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Creating effective designs depends on creating and balancing gestalt. Originally a therapeutic psychological theory (ink blots) artist’s have adopted the concept for creating more balanced and dynamic art. See: Negative Space, Positive Space, Notan

Giclees: Editioned prints made with high resolution ink jet printers using pigmented inks and archival, artist-grade papers. Lightfast ratings close to original paintings. • Go to Giclee Art Links Page.

Glazed Wash: Any transparent wash of color laid over a dry, previously painted area. Used to adjust color, value, or intensity of underlying painting. (Glaze) • See our tutorial.

Gouache: 1) Watercolor painting technique using white and opaque colors. 2) A water-based paint, much like transparent watercolor but made in opaque form. Traditionally used in illustration.

Graded Wash: A wash that smoothly changes in value from dark to light. Most noted in landscape painting for open sky work, but an essential skill for watercolor painting in general. • See our tutorial.

Grain: The basic structure of the surface of paper, as in fine, medium and rough grain.

Graphite: A type of carbon used for pencils, transfer sheets and as a dry lubricant. Synthetic graphite is made from carborundum

Grisaille: The technique of painting a highly-modeled, black and white monochromatic base painting and then glazing it with transparent colors.

Gum Arabic: Gum arabic is produced from the sap of the African acacia tree and is available in crystalline form or an already prepared solution. It binds watercolor pigments when used with water and glycerine or honey.

Highlight: A point of intense brightness, such as the reflection in an eye.

Hot Pressed: Hot pressed (HP) watercolor paper is pressed for an extremely smooth work surface. Excellent for mixed ink and watercolor techniques. •See Cold Pressed, Rough

Hue: The color of a pigment or object. Not relating to tone or value.

Impasto: Thickly applied oil or acrylic paint that leaves dimensional texture through brushstrokes or palette knife marks.

India Ink: 1. A black pigment made of lampblack and glue or size and shaped into cakes or sticks. 2. an ink made from this pigment.

Inert Pigment: A powdered paint additive that does not change the shade or hue, but extends or otherwise imparts a special working quality to the paint. Fillers are used in lower and student grade paints as extenders, making the paint cheaper to produce, but of lower quality.

Key: The lighness (high key) or darkness (low key) of a painting.

Landscape: A painting in which the subject matter is natural scenery.

Lightfast: A pigments resistance to fading on long exposure to sunlight. Watercolors are rated lightfast on a scale of I-IV. I and II ratings are the most permanent.

Local Color: The actual color of an object being painted, unmodified by light or shadow. (An orange is orange)

Masking fluid: A latex gum product that is used to cover a surface you wish to protect from receiving paint. Miskit by Grumbacher and Art masking fluid by Winsor & Newton are two such products. Also referred to as liquid frisket.

Medium: 1) The type of art material used: pencil, ink, watercolor, oil, acrylic, egg tempera, etc. 2) The liquid mixed with paint to thin, aid or slow drying, or alter the working qualities of the paint.

Middle ground: The area of a painting between the foreground and the background. In a landscape this usually where your focal point would be. • See Background, Foreground.

Modeling: Representing color and lighting effects to make an image appear three-dimensional.

Monochromatic: A single color in all it’s values.

Motif: A term meaning “subject”. Flowers or roses can be a motif.

Muted: Suppressing the full color value of a particular color.

N.W.S.: Abbreviation of the National Watercolor Society, established in 1920.

Negative Space: The areas of an artwork that are NOT the primary subject or object. Negative Space defines the subject by implication. See Positive Space, Notan, Gestalt

Non-staining colors: Pigments that can be lifted cleanly (wet or re-wet) with little or no discoloration of the underlying paper fibers.

Notan: A Japanese art/compositional term meaning “Dark-Light”. It’s the interplay of dark and light, positive and negative, and the implications of all opposites balancing harmoniously as one, in creating art. See: Negative Space, Positive Space, Gestalt

Opaque: A paint that is not transparent by nature or intentionally. A dense paint that obscures or totally hides the underpainting in any given artwork. • See Gouache, Acrylics

Ox Gall: Derived from the bile of domestic cows or other bovines, ox gall is added to paint as a surfactant or wetting agent to allow paint to flow more freely.

Palette: 1) The paint mixing and storing surface of various shapes and being made of plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, or enameled trays for watercolor. Glass, palette paper, formica, and oiled wood are used for oil painting; and glass, metal, styrofoam, and palette paper are used for acrylic painting palettes. or, 2) The selection of colors an artist chooses to work with.

Pastels: 1) Ground pigments, chalk, and binder formed into sticks for colored drawing. Also, 2) Any subdued, high key color (tint).

Perspective: Representing three-dimensional volumes and space in two dimensions in a manner that imitates depth, height and width as seen with stereoscopic eyes.

Polychrome: Poly=many, chrome or chroma=colors. Can refer to artwork made with bright, multi-colored paint.

Polyptych: A single work comprised of multiple sections, panels, or canvas. Diptych= two, triptych=three.

Positive Space: The areas of an artwork that IS the primary subject or object. Positive Space defines the subjects outline. see: Negative Space, Notan

Pounce bag: Used to dust pounced drawings. To make a pounce bag place a small wad of cotton balls in the middle of a coarsely woven square rag (a pink shop rag works well) and add a couple tablespoons of powdered charcoal before drawing up the edges of the cloth and binding the contents into a ball with tape or string. Lightly tap the ball on a pounced drawing to transfer the design to another surface. • See Charcoal, Pounce wheel.

Pounce wheel: A metal pencil-like tool that has a toothed wheel that freely rotates on the drawing end. The teeth puncture an evenly spaced series of small holes through the paper as you trace a line. Use to transfer drawings, designs and patterns to surfaces with powdered chalk or charcoal. • See Charcoal.

Primary colors: Red, yellow, and blue, the mixture of which will yield all other colors in the spectrum but which themselves cannot be produced through a mixture of other colors.

Relief: The apparent or actual (impasto, collage) projection of three-dimensional forms.

Resist: Any material, usually wax or grease crayons, that repel paint or dyes. Lithography is a grease (ink)and water (wet stone or plate) resist printing technique. Batik is a wax resist fabric artform.

Rice Paper: A generic term for Japanese and other asian forms of paper made for artist’s use. Used for sumi-e, brush calligraphy, and watercolor. Fibers from the inner bark of woody plants such as kozo (mulberry), mitsumata, and gampi, and the outer layer of herbaceous plants such as flax, hemp, and jute, are used in manufacturing wide varieties of rice paper.

Rough: Rough watercolor paper has a coarse rough texture. This surface allows for maximum graining of washes and accidental highlights and texture. •See Cold Pressed, Rough

Scumbling: Dragging a dense or opaque color across another color creating a rough texture.

Secondary colors: Colors obtained by mixing two primary colors: green, violet, and orange.

Sketch: A rough or loose visualization of a subject or composition..

Staining Colors: Colors that cannot be fully removed from your paper. Staining colors permeate the fiber of the paper and leave a permanent tint. Check your hands after painting, the hardest colors to wash off are usually the staining colors.

Still life: Any work whose subject matter is inanimate objects.

Study: A comprehensive drawing of a subject or details of a subject that can be used for reference while painting.

Support: The surface on which a painting is made: canvas, paper, wood, parchment, metal, etc.

Tempera: Pigments mixed with egg yolk and water. Also, a student-grade liquid gouache.

Texture: The actual or virtual representation of different surfaces, paint applied in a manner that breaks up the continuous color or tone.

Thumbnail Sketch: Small (credit card size or so) tonal and compositional sketches to try out design or subject ideas.

Tone: The light and dark values of a color.

Trompe l’oeil: A term meaning “Fool the eye” in French. It involves rendering a subject with such detail and attention to lighting and perspective that the finished piece appears real and three-dimensional.

Underpainting: The first, thin transparent laying in of color in a painting.

Values: The relative lightness or darkness of colors or of grays.

Variegated Wash: A wet wash created by blending a variety of discrete colors so that each color retains it’s character while also blending uniquely with the other colors in the wash.

Vehicle: The liquid used as a binder in the manufacture of paint.

Vignette: A painting which is shaded off around the edges leaving a pleasing shape within a border of white or color. Oval or broken vignettes are very common.

Wash: A transparent layer of diluted color that is brushed on.

Watercolor: Painting in pigments suspended in water and a binder such as gum arabic. Traditionally used in a light to dark manner, using the white of the paper to determine values.

Wet-on-wet: The technique of painting wet color into a wet surface .(paper saturated

Wove paper: A paper showing even texture and thickness when held to light. Created with a very fine netting, a uniform, smooth texture results. Often used in fine writing and calligraphy, archival quality woven paper can used by watercolorists with good results.

Mar 17

Art Glossary: Abstract Expressionism

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

Definition from
A school of art that developed from Expressionism, which applied the principles of Expressionism to abstract art. The paintings of Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Barnett Newman are good examples.

Definition from Wikipedia:
Abstract expressionism
was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and also the one that put New York City at the center of the art world, a role formerly filled by Paris.

Although the term “abstract expressionism” was first applied to American art in 1946 by the art critic Robert Coates, it had been first used in Germany in 1919 in the magazine Der Sturm, regarding German Expressionism. In the USA, Alfred Barr was the first to use this term in 1929 in relation to works by Wassily Kandinsky.[1]

Mar 17

Papermaking Basics from 42Explore

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

Easier - Paper is a sheet material made from fibers of wood, grass, or cotton. It can be used for writing, printing, and packaging.
Harder - Paper is made from cellulose fibers that are found in all plant cell walls. The fibers may come from any one of several plant sources such as wood, bamboo, cotton, esparto, hemp, jute, sugar cane, wheat, or rice. However in North America, wood is the major source of paper making fibers. A mixture of water and fibers is filtered through a fine screen to form a sheet of paper. As the wet sheet is dried, chemical bonds are formed between the molecules in the cellulose fibers to give the paper its strength.

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Mar 17

Paper making - Educational article excerpt from The Getty

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

Dear Curt,
I have recently wrote a lesson plan on paper making, and colored paper making. The supplies that you need would be a blender, shredded cotton paper, screen, wood or duck tape for the frames of the screen, acrylic paints, felt and a few heavy books to drain the excess liquid. Water will also be very essential. The procedures are to put the shredded paper into the blender with water and create pulp. At this time if you want the paper to be colored you would add acrylic paint. Pour the pulped colored liquid into a bucket and continue until the bucket is filled. Make sure that the container in which the pulped liquid goes is big enough to fit the screen.

After the container is filled have the students dip there wood framed screens, or duck taped screens into the mixture and move is front and back to cover the screen with the substance. Drain the screen and lay it between two pieces of felt to suck up the excess water, and apply pressure with the heavy books to drain. Peel off the screen and let air dry. If my memory serves me correctly this is how to make paper. There are several different methods, and books that you could find. If antone has anything to add to my procedures please do, and correct me if anything is wrong. I tried to do it the easier, more economical way.

SUNY New Paltz,NY

You can add colored tissue paper for dye instead of acrylic paint. Acrylic will stain clothes if it is splashed during the papermaking process. The tissue creates great color but it will temporarily stain your hands. Construction paper works well, too, shredded up and added to the pulp; the colors aren’t as vivid as tissue paper but the dye won’t stain your hands as much. Colored pulp is fun because you can put different colors together onto one screen and construct a multicolored piece of paper from a variety of tubs. I use the deep plastic dishwashing tubs you can buy at the dime store for holding the paper pulp. I usually have students save the flower heads from cut flowers, collect skins from onions, dried plants, etc. to throw in one tub. Additionally, there is also a tub where I put in glitter and sequins which is always really popular.

The other alternative to do keep your pulp white and do watercoloring right on top of the wet paper after it is couched. Kids love this. The only danger is if they are still “scrubbing” while painting with a brush and in that case, may pull some of the fiber apart.

Instead of felt, you can use handiwipes for couching the paper from the screen. The advantage of handiwipes is that you can throw them in the washing machine after you are finished with them. The paper also dries more quickly on the handiwipes. I put plastic on a table if I’m doing it inside, otherwise, you can lay the handiwipes outside to dry. I have used masking tape on the handiwipes to identify whose paper is whose, but the older tape has a tendancy to pull away some of the handiwipe.

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